Although it sometimes seems that one half of Rio is constantly being robbed by the other, don’t let paranoia ruin your stay. It’s true that there is quite a lot of petty theft in Rio – pockets are picked and bags and cameras swiped – but use a little common sense and you’re unlikely to encounter problems. Most of the real violence affecting Rio is drug related and concentrated in the favelas. In addition, there are certain areas that should be avoided.
In Centro, contrary to popular belief, Sunday is not the best time to stroll around – the streets are usually empty, which means you can be more easily identified, stalked and robbed. The area around Praça Mauá, just to the north of Centro, should be avoided after nightfall, and even during the day care should be taken. In the Zona Sul’s Parque do Flamengo it’s also inadvisable to wander unaccompanied after nightfall. Similarly, tourists who choose to walk between Cosme Velho and the Corcovado have been subject to robbery and assault – both of which can be best avoided by taking the train. Copacabana ’s record has improved since the authorities started to floodlight the beach at night, but it’s still not a good idea to remain on the sand after sunset.